Bringing sexy back: a story of a little chair.

I love reupholstering and refinishing furniture that have a story.  And of course,  working on a piece for a family member makes it even more fun.

My aunt asked me to reupholster a chair she inherited from her mother in law Chris.  She had passed away just a few years ago and was quite the lady.  She may have been short in stature but she had a personality that was large in life.  The chair had been purchased after Chris and her husband married back in 1940.  It was a cute, low chair. Perfect for Chris.  😉

Over time the little chair was recovered and well loved.  Once I started working on it, I found four layers of fabric!  Lots of work and love went into the chair over the years.

I started to take the first layer of fabric off and noticed that the stuffing and some of the fabric was easily falling apart. Its amazing how long everything held together.  There was a manufacturing label on the chair from May 1940!

I had a messy job ahead.  I removed the fabric, hay stuffing, padding and old batting.  And a million old nails, tacks and staples.

After the chair was down to the bare bones, I sanded down the chair legs.  They had been scratched up over time and lost their luster.  A couple coats of Minwax dark walnut stain and General Finishes top coat, the legs looked fantastic!

Before reupholstering the seat, I did some research and watched a few youtube videos to get some tips and tricks.  I’ve done a few chairs previously but I try to check out what the professionals use for tools and materials.  I’m always trying to learn more!  Here are some great videos that I found helpful (here & here).

 The chair seat had old zig zag springs that were in great shape, not bent or broken.  To make sure that the chair didn’t sink m too low, I stapled burlap binding underneath the springs.  I also tied the springs with strips of fabric remnants to make sure they didn’t shift.  I stapled a piece of fabric remnant over the springs to make sure there were no squeaks and to allow the foam padding to sit on something ‘solid’.   I cut the 2″ padding to size and shaped it to fit the seat shape (cutting the edges to make it not as square or cube shaped).  I covered that with a couple layers of batting and stapled that down.

The chair back was a little easier, as it didn’t have springs and had a solid back.  I cut foam to fit and covered it with a couple layers of batting.

Now the fun begins!!  I started with the seat, cutting the piece of fabric a few inches larger than needed.  Since I had to cut the fabric to fit around the chair back supports I wanted some leeway in case I made mistakes.  Luckily my aunt found a great deal on fabric and I had lots of room for error!

After reupholstering similar chairs I’ve learned a few things.  Here are some tips:  Take your time. Staples can always be taken out as long as you are careful with the fabric and wood.  Always cut around chair arms in small snips,don’t be too snip happy and avoid cutting too much around the arms.  Make sure the staples are somewhat in a straight line so if you are using piping or gimp as trim, you can make a straight trim line.  Don’t pull the fabric too tightly as you staple, it will look bumpy.  Hope this post helps, upholstery is fun to do!

Here she is in all her glory!  My aunt was happy with her little chair.  I think Chris would have loved the chair redo too.  Now the chair will be ready for another 90+ years 😉


Thanks for stopping by!



Chair refresh. 

A month ago I was asked if I could reupholster some chairs for a new client. The dining set was her grandmother’s and 100 years old.  She had the chairs reupholstered years ago but it was time for a refresh.

The chairs were going to look awesome with new fabric.  I was looking forward to redoing the chairs.   I picked up the chair seats and had planned on working on them a couple days later.  It was going to be a storm day,  which is a perfect day for reupholstering!  Unfortunately, I started getting sick with a chest infection and was useless for a couple weeks.

So fast forward two weeks and another storm day. (We’ve had a few!!)  I was able to tear off the old fabric and start on reupholstering.  The biggest part of the job was to remove the two layers of fabric and lots of staples and nails.


Underneath the fabric, the old padding was in good shape.  The padding was still cushy and wasn’t damaged by liquids.   I covered the seats with two layers of batting.


My client found some beautiful teal fabric for a great price.   When I finished the seats I couldn’t wait to reunite them with the frames.  I loved the result and my client and her family did too!

Love this before and after!

It was a simple redo and I got to meet a nice family!  I’m so happy to have been able to refresh her grandmother’s dining set.  A treasure for sure!


A Chair for Charity

Around this time last year I refinished a bench and put it up for sale, with the aim to donate money to a charity.  I advertised the bench on my Facebook page and mentioned that the money would go to an animal shelter in the South Shore, SHAID.  The shelter is a great spot and some of my favorite fur friends came from SHAID.  When I chose the fabric for the bench, it was a total coincidence the colours I used matched those in my parent’s home.  My Mom saw the bench, texted me that she loved it…and it was sold!  Easiest sale ever. And we were able to make a good donation to the shelter. If you’d like to make a donation, either monetary or food/supplies visit here.

It was fun to refinish a piece of furniture and donate to charity. So, my plan is to do a “Chair for Charity” once or twice a year.  This year I had intended on doing it in the spring and fall.  But with the 2 month strike at work, I wasn’t able to in the spring.  But no excuses now!   I just purchased a beautiful chair and will reupholster it soon.



I’ve decided to donate towards Paws Fur Thought.  It’s an organization that pairs service dogs with Veterans and First Responders who suffer from PTSD.  The therapy and comfort that service dogs give to those with PTSD is inspiring.  There are so many people who have benefited from having service dogs.  I admire the oraganization for helping people who otherwise would have a difficult time.  I have several military members and first responders in my family and group of friends.  This service could help them at some point or their coworkers.


The organization takes donations through the Royal Canadian Legion and Mental Health Foundation of NS.  If anyone would like to make a donation to Paws Fur Thought, please click on one of the following links or contact your local branches.  (Mention the donation is for Paws Fur Thought).



I will be back soon with an update on the chair.  And hopefully be able to post the before and after….once I get some other projects finished of course.

So much to do, and not enough hours in the day for paint to dry!

Laurena 😉

Classic polka.

This weekend I finished a cute chair for a client.  I mentioned the chair in this post about Bar Keepers Friend.  The frame cleaned up beautifully!  There are still a couple of imperfections in the metal, but it looks so much better!

Here’s the before…

DSC_0686 DSC_0681

And the chair frame after cleaning…


Now that the frame is sparkling, I started working on the chair seats.  There were three layers of vinyl on them.  It’s always tedious to take the old fabric off and to remove the staples.   But its a necessary evil to make the chair look like new.  After removing the fabric and old padding, I sprayed the wood with a deodorizer and let it air out on my balcony.   Luckily, we’re having a very mild November here in Halifax.  So being able to work outside is great!  What a change from last fall!  I think I was in hibernation mode this time last year.

Reupholstering the chair was pretty basic. I used a few layers of batting as the new padding and stapled on the new fabric.  I used upholstery tacks to cover up the staples on the back of the chair.  Before attaching the seats to the frame, I marked out the spots where the screws would go in.  I then snipped through the fabric and batting to make it easier to put the screws in.

Here’s the final result!!





I love the result.  And even better, my client was over joyed with the chair.  The polka dot fabric was the perfect choice.  I hope the chair will continue to be a treasured hand-me-down for years to come.

No matter how many pieces of furniture I work on, I am in awe what some paint or new fabric can do. Sometimes I hear a song when I look at the final piece. Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t she lovely!” comes to mind, especially for this chair. So sweet!

This chair is one of my favourites!


Choosing colours & Painted furniture.

The past couple of years, my goal is to have my favourite things in my home.   I don’t want to have furniture or decor that I hate looking at.  Since (as I’ve been told) I have OCD…ugly furniture and decor drives me nuts.  I’m constantly tweaking things, changing paint colours, art pieces, slip covers, pillows etc.  We all do that don’t we?  Totally.

I want my home to be a cozy place with a nice mix of wood and painted pieces.   I like the eclectic look, but things must have some connection to each other.  (Guess that’s where my OCD comes out?).  Most of my painted furniture are some tone of white, black or grey.  Calming colours, classic and neutral.  When choosing paint colours for my home, I go for neutral on furniture and add pops of colour through my decor pieces.  Like art, pillows, books etc.    I’ve learned it’s easier to switch out accessories than to paint furniture again!  I’ve done that a couple times…not fun! 😉

My dining chairs were one of the last items on my plate.  I’ve switched dining chairs a few times, various chair styles and all different shades of blue. I wanted a more cohesive look, so the blue chairs had to go!

I have had these lovely antique chairs in storage for a couple of years.  I knew I wanted to use them for my dining room, but I had to decide what colour to paint them.  White, grey or black?!

Dining chairs @ Pivot~Paint~Create

I finally went with black.  Since my dining table base was white, I wanted a nice contrast.  I used Lamp Black milk paint by General Finishes.  Love that paint and the colour.   After stripping the seats and prepping the chairs for painting, they looked better.   Funny how a little paint and getting rid of faux leather fabric can improve the look of the chair!

Dining chairs @ Pivot~Paint~Create

After 3 coats of paint, two coats of satin Varathane, I recovered the chairs in a natural fabric and trimmed with gimp.

Here they are!  I love how they turned out.

Dining chairs @ Pivot~Paint~Create

Dining chairs @ Pivot~Paint~Create

Dining chairs @ Pivot~Paint~Create

Dining chairs @ Pivot~Paint~Create

Dining chairs @ Pivot~Paint~Create

Til next time!


Finally, Eastlake Chairs are finished!

So it has been 4 months since I posted these two Eastlake chairs were ‘in progress.’

eastlake chairs @Pivot~Paint~Create

 Obviously I got a little side-tracked.  I blame it on the two month labour disruption and trying to catch up on sleep.

The sad thing is, I knew what I wanted to do with the chairs but I just didn’t get around to starting.  I love reupholstering chairs and benches but tearing off the old fabric just made me avoid starting.  And for good reason!  The chairs may have looked clean, but the fabric was old and brittle.  A million orange fibers floated in the air after I stripped the chairs.  And for some reason, the chair backs had the thin plasticy foam in between the fabric layers. The kind you’d use for wrapping glassware.  It was and odd upholstery material…

Chair redo

Strange eh?

Finally, the chairs are ready for the fun part, painting!!

Chair redo

For those of you who are screaming “Why are you painting these?!!!”  The wood may look nice in the pictures, but they’re scratched and have dents in the frame.  I wanted the chairs to have a nice finish so I filled in the dents and sanded down the scratches.

When I bought the Fusion paint for my coffee table, I also bought pints of Casement and Colour Block.  I painted the chairs first with Colour Block, to make sure the final colour had nice coverage.  I painted them 3 coats of Casement, which is a beautiful pure white.  Perfect update for the chairs.

Here are the painted chairs.  In retrospect I should have done two coats of Colour Block before painting with Casement.  In order to get the white without the wood showing through, I had to paint a few coats of Casement.

Chair redo

As for fabric I chose the one below along with a neutral fabric for the chair front, both from  And I used gimp trim to hide all the staples.  As usual I burnt myself with the glue gun.  A regular event and tradition when I use the hot glue gun. Ugh!

p kaufmann toscana tile crimson

Half way there….

chair redo

I attempted to add a tufting accent on the chair from.  It was fun to do, but I still need to perfect it.  Maybe next time on an ottoman.   Here are my supplies….wine is essential.

 chair redochair redo

Here’s the after!!  I think it turned out well.  The reason I didn’t use the patterned fabric on the chair front, is so it wasn’t too ‘busy’ looking.  I think with the neutral fabric tones down the red/pattern.  I hope someone will like them!  And the chairs will find a new home. 🙂

chair redo

chair redo chair redo Til next time!


Dining chair dilemma.

Since part of furniture refinishing is to find furniture to work on, I often stumble upon pieces that I love.  I buy them thinking I’d refinish and sell them.  But sometimes that’s not the case…I end up keeping them for myself!  Like this chair, the cute bench, and the small hutch.

Can you blame me though?

Chair @ Pivot~Paint~Create

small bench @Pivot~Paint~Create

commode @Pivot~Paint~Create

Obviously I have a problem!  So I wasn’t shocked when I bought a set of dining chairs, brought them to my workshop…and decided to keep them!

leather dining chair before @ Pivot~Paint~Create

They have great character.  Nice curvy spindles on the chair back and nice legs!   I could see their potential.  A coat of paint and new fabric seats.  Sigh.  I can’t wait to redo them…(for myself, hehe).

I plan to start refinishing them soon.  But I need to figure out what colour to paint them.  I’m planning on using a neutral, drop cloth like fabric for the seats.  My dining table has a dark walnut top and white base (I did this post about it awhile ago).

The big question: Should I paint the chairs black, light grey or dark grey?

I’m leaning towards black…but let me know what you think!

‘Til next time!